People urged to increase plastic recycling rates

Residents in 1066 Country are being urged to recycle more plastics.

East Sussex County Council is supporting the Government-backed Pledge 4 Plastics campaign, which urges people to recycle one extra plastic bottle per household per week.

The council says recycling more plastics will help it save money which could be spent on other essential services.

Plastic bottles and tubs can be remade for their original function or turned into anything from children’s toys, football shirts or garden furniture to duvets, pens or kitchen utensils.

At present, around 40 per cent of the county’s waste is recycled or composted, but the council aims to drive that figure up to 50 per cent by 2020.

Recycling rates almost doubled in between 2006 and 2014 eight years, with a 90 per cent drop in the amount of rubbish sent to landfill over the same time period.

The average UK household uses more than 440 plastic bottles a year, but only recycles around 250 of them.

Councillor Carl Maynard, the county council’s lead member for transport and environment, said: “Thanks to East Sussex residents, we recycle a good deal more waste than was the case a year ago, but we can still do more.

“Most of the packaging thrown in the bin is used as fuel to produce energy, but this still costs money which could be spent elsewhere.

“We would save £50,000 each year if we recycled all the plastic packaging thrown away in East Sussex.

“Just recycling one extra plastic bottle a week can make a real difference, help us to achieve our recycling target and free up money which can be spent on the things that really matter to people.”

Plastic pots, tubs and trays, plastic bags and film can be recycled as well as plastic bottles.

People are asked to give the bottle a quick rinse, squash the air out, remove bottle tops and place them in their recycling container.

Once empty plastic bottles are collected by district and borough councils from household recycling containers or from county council household waste sites, they are taken to the sorting centre.

The bottles are then sorted into different material types.

Bottles are squashed into solid blocks, called bales, before being shredded into flakes, which are washed in a whirlpool bath to clean off labels and dirt.

Flakes are sorted again depending on whether they float or sink, before being dried by giant industrial dryers and blown down pipes into bags or boxes.

The sorted plastic is passed on to recyclers and manufacturers, to be turned into new products.

More information online at www.pledge4plastics.co.uk.